27 Percent of California Teens Are Gender Nonconforming
by Kimberly Lawson
December 14, 2017
According to a new study out of UCLA, more than a quarter of California adolescents feel comfortable enough to dismiss societal pressures to identify with one gender or another.
Researchers out of the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research analyzed data from the 2015-2016 version of the California Health Interview Survey, which collected data from 1,300 households. For the first time ever, the survey included a question for young people (ages 12-17) about gender expression. Participants had to answer how they thought their classmates viewed them in terms of their appearance, style, dress and/or the way they walk or talk; the answers ranged from “very feminine” to “very masculine.”
The study’s authors took these answers and analyzed them in context with what gender/sex adolescents chose in the survey. With this information, researchers identified two groups of gender-nonconforming youth: “highly gender-nonconforming (GNC)” and “androgynous.” Young women who thought people at school saw them as “mostly masculine” or “very masculine,” and young men who chose “mostly feminine” or “very feminine” were categorized as highly GNC. Young people who said they were “equally feminine and masculine” were categorized as androgynous. The remaining youth were categorized as gender conforming.
Ultimately, the study’s authors found that 27 percent, or 796,000, of California’s youth, are GNC. Of the two sub-groups, 21 percent were classified as androgynous, and 6 percent as highly GNC.